Editor's note: in the United Kingdom, the word "patron" means "chief spokesperson". This is not to be confused with someone attending an event, which is another meaning of "patron".
Since the news of Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton before Christmas, the royal palace has reportedly been inundated with requests from charities for Kate to be their patron. She, however, has apparently decided to hold of on becoming affiliated with any at present, preferring to concentrate on learning more about life as a royal. The practice of members of the Royal Family lending their names to organisations through formal patronages is thought to have existed since the 18th century. To read more on royal patronage visit the Official Website of The British Monarchy.
There are a number of reasons that these organisations are so keen to garner the support of a high profile patron and the popularity and accessibility of Kate makes her a prime target. The benefits include adding credibility to the charity, making available their contacts for fundraising purposes as well as promotion of the charity and their assistance in raising funds and affecting governmental change.
However there are downsides and risks to having a patron representing your charity. Negative publicity on the part of the patron may reflect badly on the charity, while it may be substantial work taking care of them. The impact they have may wane over time if their public profile goes down. The size of a charity will affect the kind of patron they are able to attract, as a small, very local charity is unlikely to attract a very high profile patron.
Short Film: "The Cycle of Love"
Written by Nadia Di Martino
Nadia Di Martino, senior global affairs reporter, directed this short film as a commentary on cyclists in London.
Check it out below! And watch all the way to the end.
Visiting Amsterdam To See "What Freedom Smells Like"
Written by Karolina Dembinska-Lemus
The single most impressive thing that has etched itself in my concept of Amsterdam, The Netherlands is the huge amount of bicycles and bicyclists, literally everywhere. Bikes lined all streets, bridges, canals, buildings…at times the massive amount of bicycles made me wonder how on earth people locate their bicycles for one, but also how they free them from what looked to me like an enormous pile of metal wire from afar.
I saw people lugging groceries around in baskets attached to their bikes and pulling or carrying kids in what were at times simple boxes attached to the bicycles. Some bikes had fun decorations as you may find in a car dashboard or underneath a rear windshield. Some bikes I had to wonder if they hadn’t just been abandoned there years prior, as the models at times seemed outdated, and the bikes themselves were often in rusty and rundown condition. Absolutely everyone seemed to bike – young and old, couples, families with kids. And curiously, there didn’t seem to be a helmet law in place, as I did not see a single bicyclist wearing one.
I forced myself to look past the bicycles to try to notice other aspects of the city. Beautiful water canals were indeed at every turn.
The view of one of these canals was located on the opposite side of the Amsterdam Hilton hotel, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous 1969 Bed-In for Peace. (Photo below) Why they wouldn’t have wanted a view of the canal, with the sunrise visible, in early fall anyway, is a mystery to me. But you can still read the words “Bed Peace Hair Peace” written on the inside of the window of their legendary suite.
A quick stop at a windmill currently serving as someone’s private home, a presentation at a diamond factory, and a sign warning (in several languages!) to beware of pickpockets presented a nice balance of the variety to be found in this fascinating city. Sadly, the pickpocket sign is no joke, as we actually witnessed a purse snatching from our tour bus.
Perhaps questionable legality may actually come to mind in the first place when thinking of Amsterdam, what with the legalized prostitution and cannabis consumption.
I paid a short visit to the red light district just to say I went. Comically, there was an actual traffic light posted on one of the sidewalks leading into the district, with the red light on. As I walked along the canal, tightly clutching my camera for several reasons, nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first. Until out of the corner of my eye I saw what must be the saddest part of the city – women clad in nothing but lingerie or bathing suits, one to a window, sitting or standing and facing the street. I avoided making eye contact with them because I was embarrassed for them. I couldn’t imagine how humiliating it must be to be literally put on display like that for the purpose of men window-shopping for a good lay, being presented as nothing more than the physical body and what it is capable of. I walked looking straight ahead.
Probably the most liberating experience was my visit to the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in the red light district. I did not visit any of the numerous smoking cafes, but I did feel a visit to Amsterdam, the capital of pot, would be incomplete without some reference to this curious controversy.
I was welcomed by what I’d call two friendly new-age-ish hippies. There were display cases of various products made out of hemp (CD cases, purses, T-shirts), posters promoting the legalization of marijuana, and informational charts noting the curious historical uses of cannabis-derived products even in the United States before it was outlawed outright. Downstairs was a pot-growing garden where, for a small donation to offset the cost of electricity, you could see how the plants are grown (behind closed glass). There was also an informal poll taking place where visitors were being asked if they would visit Amsterdam if the consumption of cannabis were to be made illegal for foreign tourists. Interestingly, the votes seemed about evenly split between “maybe” and “no”, with only slightly more votes for “yes”.
Now, let’s be honest; there is only a fine line between illicit drugs and common intoxicants such as caffeine or nicotine. So my vote was “yes”, I would very much like to return for a longer visit, where I can catch the beauty of the city via the canal river tours, and yes, maybe even visit one of the smoking cafes, if for no other reason than to see what freedom smells like.
Scotland: It's Green, Friendly and Definitely Plentiful
Written by Claudia Zimmermann
A lone bagpipe player in the Scotland Highlands. All photos by Claudia Zimmermann.
Before I went on a 10 day vacation to Scotland, my idea of this country was grey, lonely and scarce. Now that I have been, I can testify it to be green, friendly and plentiful. Never before have people been so friendly to strangers from the beginning and never before have I seen such a wide variety of nature in such small vicinity as here and whatever the visitor may want – Scotland has it all.
There are vibrant larger cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh or smaller ones like Stirling and Inverness. There are wide park areas around beautifully restored castles and palaces or impressive natural resorts for a day out on the wild side. Exhaust yourself during a day of shopping in the cities and soothe your senses clambering over the ruins of the ancient homes of the great Scottish families. You will feel like a part of history.
If you have 10 days to spend in Scotland, here are just some places you need to go:
The Highlands. There is not a lot to say about this part of Scotland that starts with the Highland Boundary Fault and bounces off further to the north across a rugged land. You need to see the planes with sudden big boulders and glistening snow on their tops in the middle of May for yourself. When you travel through the Highlands you feel small and alone. It is a part of the world that is less populated than Sweden, Norway and Papua New Guinea. Someone once said that the Highlands look like the funeral place of giants. And they do. It must be bit more fun in winter when the skiing is on, but outside the season you can enjoy time just by yourself for a loooong way.
How Does Modern Literature Become Classic Literature?
Written by Erick Colman
Are these books destined to be classics? (Publisher credits: Norstedts Forlag, Bloomsbury)
As many people take advantage of summer vacation, they will inevitably clutch a book or two to help them get through the down time. While I’ve been out of grade school for awhile, I imagine some students still have assigned summer reading. If that’s not universally true anymore, please correct me.
A few weeks ago, our publisher, Safaa Nhairy, asked on Facebook about the best book an individual had ever read. This article will discuss fiction.
Choosing an overall best can be difficult. Writing styles and plots can match up wildly, and comparing literature across different time periods is subjective.
For example, Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a children’s book, yet its pro-environment message is still important for people of all ages.
Here’s the problem. Many pieces of literature that are my favorites are at least a decade old. In the 21st century, we’ve seen literature make a major comeback of sorts. For adults, books like Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” provoked questions about the nature of religion. Books originally marketed for kids, teens and young adults, like the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” series, were read en masse by older adults as well.
With the rise of the Internet, publishing has also become easier. Now anyone with money to invest in their book can do so online or print copies on demand. Not to mention the industry has changed; many authors will sign multi-book contracts, which increases the potential for one story to spread out over several books.
So I ask these questions: just because a book is popular, does it mean it will be a classic? Will future generations get book assignments that were best sellers at the time? Or will they be assigned books that weren’t big sellers in their day, but better appreciated as time goes on?
There are already a few examples for this debate. Read on to find out what they are.